Planning a Big Island vacation? We’re here to help!
Nearly twice the size of all the other Hawaiian islands combined, the Big Island has a whole lot to offer visitors. From technicolor-sand beaches to miles of hiking trails, to some of the world's best coffee, great golfing and an active volcano to top it all off, the island shows off its natural charms at every turn. The challenge for any visitor is where to begin.
Stand on an active volcano
Start your trip with a bang and experience the thrill of watching an active volcano up close. Kilauea volcano at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in the south east of the island is between 300,000 and 600,000 years old and has been erupting regularly for hundreds of years. The most recent eruption started in 1983 and shows no sign of slowing down yet.
You can easily spend an entire day here, hiking the trails, walking through lava tubes and feeling the power of nature’s primordial forces at work. You can even stand on the lava fields and see the molten liquid cooling before your eyes.
To watch the incredible spectacle of lava erupting from the earth set your compass for the Jaggar Museum and Overlook where you can witness lava flume clouds first hand. The sight is especially breathtaking in the early evening as the light begins to fade. To top off the day, you can catch the unique sight of molten red lava hitting the ocean at Kamokuna with a boat trip or helicopter tour. Your Luxury Retreats concierge can organize this for you.
Relax on a beautiful beach
After all the excitement of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, you’re going to need a day to recover, which is where Big Island’s beautiful beaches come in. You’ll find the sand here comes in many colors, from gold to green and even black.
For soft golden sands and turquoise water head to Hapuna Beach near Mauna Kea. It’s a favorite with locals and tourists alike, great for swimming and bodyboarding. And while it’s hardly secluded, there’s enough space for everyone to spread out.
The black sand beach at Punaluu attracts curious visitors from the world over - the sand here gets its color from volcanic lava. It’s not a great beach for swimming, but it’s the perfect place for an afternoon stroll. Keep your eye out for green turtles on the beach as you walk - Punaluu is a favorite destination for the cute creatures.
Perhaps even more unusual, the green sand at Papakolea is a most unusual sight - the color comes from Olivine crystals that occur naturally in the area. You’ll need to hike a couple of miles to reach the beach but the walk is well worth the effort.
Looking for some rest and relaxation away from the rest of humanity? Set out to find one of Big Island’s secret beaches. Down unmarked trails that your GPS will never find, spots such as Anaehoomalu Bay on the Kohala coast may be a little harder to reach, but the reward is a pristine stretch of sand all to yourself.
Hit the hiking trails
You may well find that you’re lacing up your hiking boots every day on a big island vacation - so much of the island’s charm lies in getting out into the country on foot to explore. For a not-so-challenging hike with a great reward set off for Akaka Falls State Park, where you can wander the trail through the rainforest on marked paths and elevated walkways through to the beautiful Akaka waterfall which drops an incredible 442 feet into a pristine pool. Make sure you bring your camera with you - the scenery is breathtaking.
A farm to table philosophy
On an island so abundant with nature, it comes as no surprise that fresh produce and a farm-to-table philosophy are key to the way people prepare and enjoy food here. Dedicated foodies should make a bee-line for Hilo Farmer’s Market, which has been showcasing the best local produce from the island since the 1980s. From humble beginnings, with just four farmers selling their wares, to the 200-plus vendors you’ll find there today, the market is a great way to understand the connection locals have with the land and try some delicious treats at the same time. On Wednesday and Saturday mornings you’ll find the market filled with vendors, and other days of the week a smaller number of farmers open up shop. From Kona coffee to homegrown honey, tropical fruit and more, stop off at Hilo and fill your picnic basket before you head to the beach.
Experience the luxury of our Big Island vacation rentals
From villas with classic resort amenities to secluded beachfront homes away from the hustle and bustle, no matter what kind of vacation you have in mind, we have a home to match on Big Island. Smaller groups will enjoy our well-appointed luxury apartments with two bedrooms at Mauna Lani, while larger groups can call one of our beachfront villas in Puako home for a week or two.
Golf vacations with accommodation in Hawaii
If your idea of a vacation well spent includes plenty of time on the fairway, Big Island makes a great choice. In fact, the island is nicknamed the “Golf capital of Hawaii”. Many of the best courses are found along the Kohala Coast in the north west of the island, including the championship course at Mauna Lani, the courses at Mauna Kea Resort, and the course Hualalai.
Mauna Lani Resort
Designed by Hawaiian golfer Francis H. I’i Brown, the championship South Course is home to the prestigious Hawaii State Open. Twisting through lava formations, offering spectacular views of mountain and ocean, the golf here is challenging and fun. Our Mauna Lani vacation rentals at the resort are ideally located for a golf vacation - and some properties even have fairway views so you can check out the competition while you enjoy a coffee before tee time.
Mauna Kea Resort
The course at Mauna Kea has been setting the standard in Big Island golf since the 1960s. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr, it was one of the first golf courses on the island and remains one of the most popular. The course has been updated by Trent Jones’ son Rees Jones and makes a great choice for novice players who will enjoy brushing up their skills on the driving range and putting greens before trying out the real thing. Our homes at the resort offer fairway views, tennis courts, swimming pools and more.
Designed by the famed Jack Nicklaus, Hualalai golf course has panoramic ocean views and plenty to challenge even experienced golfers. Enjoy every minute of your “golf-cation” with our stylish Hualalai villa rentals, situated right alongside the course. Your luxury Retreats concierge can organize equipment rental and tee times for all courses so all you need to concentrate on is your swing.